I have a new favourite New Zealand Backcountry DOC hut: Cone Hut!
This is a little rustic hut, it has a new floor and sleeping bed, original beams, new walls and an amazing giant open fire. We were the only ones staying in it when we went back in May and the tramp to get to it is pretty leisurely. All in all, it made for a perfect place for the sunny weekend.
Its funny because I was so worried about heading to this hut when the trip was being planned. After looking it up online, I thought it was going to have a dirt floor, no fire and be really grimy. I was so relieved when we got there that this wasn’t the case. This post details out tramp to Cone Hut, be sure to watch the video at the bottom. If you enjoy and want to read about more huts. Check out my New Zealand Backcountry DOC Huts Series HERE
Cone Hut. This is the second oldest hut in the Tararuas, originally built in 1946
Tararua Forest Park close to Greytown/Carterton
Date of our tramp:
6/7 May 2017
Route and Road end:
We parked at Waiohine Gorge Road End (The car park has moved back along the road because of a landslide so this adds an extra 20 mins of walking to get to the swing bridge at the beginning of the hike). Then you take the swing bridge across the Gorge and followed the signposts for cone hut.
Hours to hut:
It took us 3 hours to the hut and 2.5 back to the car. You can also take an extra hour to continue to walk from Cone Hut until you reach Tutuwai Hut, which is a larger serviced hut. This is not a really long hike, but thats good if you only have an afternoon/morning.
The track is in really good condition and well marked. There are lots of tree roots but the track is clear the whole way. The tramp is a basic, up for one hour, flat for an hour and then down for half an hour: both ways.
Our Cone Hut Experience:
We set off at about midday on Saturday from Wellington. This was much later than we meant to but because of the short tramp to get to Cone Hut we felt it was ok not to rush. We set off from the Waiohine Gorge carpark at around 1:30. Taking the Cone Hut Track there is a steep climb for about 45 minutes to an hour to get you up onto the ridge. Once this was out of the way it is a nice amble along the ridge for about another hour. The view is mostly bush and eventually a sign post led us down for a 30 minute decent down to the hut. The decent it quite steep but not as hectic as some tramps in the Tararuas and there was no clinging on for dear life which was great!
The hut itself was a delight. It was built in 1946 and restored in the 1980s using Totara timbers and split into slab walls. It has beautiful beams with white cladded walls and a giant fireplace. There is one flat wooden sleeping bay instead of bunks which seemed brand new and was in super condition. The mattresses were new and clean. Very comfortable for a hut!
We arrived at about 4pm and Lucas headed straight out to see if he could find any deer. I stayed at the hut and lit the fire. The fire is a great big open fire place and there is a wood store outside. The only problem with this is that the fire is so large, it just churns through the wood. But it does well to warm the hut up for a cosy night.
Anyway, Lucas came back deerless. We warmed up some curry for dinner, had a couple of glasses of red and listened to a podcast: Rewild Yourself by Daniel Vitalis. This podcast comes highly recommended. It is about trying to return to a culture of living off the land as much as possible. Very appropriate listening while in the bush.
Lucas got up for a bit of a deer stalk in the morning while I slept in until 10am without even meaning to, it was amazing! I then searched for some more wood to restock the store and we packed up. We headed down to the river to catch some rays and have some lunch before tramping out. It is so nice down on the flats by the river. On a warm day this would be a perfect camping, swimming spot.
The tramp out only took 2.5 hours. After the initial hike back up the hill to the ridge it is pretty easy. We were back at the carpark at about 2:30. There were a few people on the way back but not as many as I expected to see on a warm weekend of weather.
Lastly we headed to Greytown and The White Swan for a late lunch by the fire before driving back to Welly.
Overall Hut Review
Amazing cute little hut! Might be a different experience with more than 2 people but this was the best night sleep I’ve had in the Tararuas yet and a great easy jaunt from Wellington.
My Hut Rating
5/5 from me!!
I also made a lil video about the weekend…check it out here…
Thanks for Reading!
Check out more blog posts about Wellington and New Zealand HERE
Please comment below with any tramping or hut tips you might have. I would love to hear from you.